The Pioneer Woman Adds This Surprising Ingredient To Her Corned Beef And Cabbage

If you're going to assume that just because a dish has Irish origins, that adding a bottle of Guinness, everyone's favorite Irish stout, to said dish is going to make it better, you would be making a huge generalization and possibly stereotyping an entire culture. You would also be absolutely correct, according to The Pioneer Woman's recipe for corned beef and cabbage.

Corned beef, so named for the large "corns" of salt that the beef is cured in (not for actual corn) often makes an appearance in grocery stores and kitchens across America this time of year, in honor of St. Patrick's Day (via Irish Central). The feast day of Ireland's patron saint is marked by food and fun on the Old Sod to be sure, but corned beef and cabbage is actually an Irish-American invention, born of the 19th century Irish immigrants' great surprise to find that beef was cheap and readily available in the New World. 

If you're set on making corned beef and cabbage yourself, Ree Drummond has an excellent tip for making your dish really stand out.

Guinness is a great addition to your cabbage

For today's corned beef and cabbage, you don't have to wait weeks for a brisket to be cured in salt as it makes its way across the Atlantic by boat. The Pioneer Woman points out that "the stuff in the package is lovely!" and that no one should feel the slightest bit guilty for not taking the time to salt-cure their own beef. Thank heavens for that. Drummond gets her corned beef cooking and sets about doing the fun stuff: prepping the cabbage and making a balsamic reduction to go with it. (Note: Balsamic reduction is also not an authentic Irish tradition, as seen by the Irish Central recipe, but if you're blending cultures and breaking rules, you might as well go all the way.)

Drummond sears her cabbage wedges in olive oil until they're golden brown, then sets them on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Does she stop at seasoning the cabbage with salt and pepper? She does not, and neither should you. Grab a bottle of Guinness (or your favorite dark, preferably Irish, stout) and pour it into the bottom of the pan before putting the whole thing in the oven. "In my mind," Drummond says on her website, "the Guinness gently steams the cabbage and infuses it with its stout-y essence. But in reality, it's probably just a placebo effect." We'll drink to that!